Participans of the workshop representing 10 countries
Workshop “Relict trees in peril"

Between the 4th and 7th of July 2016 a workshop entitled “Relict trees in peril: conservation challenges and research projects across Eurasia” organized by our Zelkova-team took place in Tbilisi, Georgia (in collaboration with the Ilia State University, National Botanic Garden of Georgia and Rustaveli State University). Invited speakers from Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Iran, Azerbaijan, China, Vietnam and Japan as well as Georgian scientists presented their research projects and conservation actions carried out in different countries and regions from the Mediterranean to Eastern Asia. The symposium was followed by a scientific expedition to Western Georgia in order to visit natural populations of Zelkova carpinifolia and Pterocarya fraxinifolia and to discuss with local stakeholders the long term conservation of the relict forests of the Colchis region.

Pupils planting their tree
Ex situ plantation of Zelkova abelicea with primary school of Skine-Fourne (Crete)

As part of the Zelkova abelicea conservation project, an ex situ plantation was established in the Levka Ori with the involvement of the Municipality of Platanias, the Forest Directorate of Chania (FDC), the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh) and the local Primary school of Skine-Fourne.

Lopota river overflows frequently into adjacent lands and forest, creating favorable ecological condition for P. fraxinifolia.
Relict trees in Georgia: new conservation actions

In the framework of the project on "Pterocarya and Juglandaceae", a research expedition was held during August 2015 across Georgia, in order to investigate the present situation of Pterocarya fraxinifolia stands in riparian forests and propose the most suitable protection measures. Dr Nino Davitashvili, our leading scientist in Georgia, had already a great experience of Pterocarya forests and could guide researchers from Switzerland to the most interesting and endangered communities. This expedition was also an opportunity to explore the last remnants of Zelkova carpinifolia forests and to analyse precisely their structure and diversity. This work was done by Daniel Ducry (University of Fribourg) as part of his Master’s Degree focused on Zelkova forest from the Mediterranean region to the Southern Caucasus.

Exploring Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam

Pterocarya tonkinensis has the most southern distribution among the species of the genus - it occurs in riparian forests of Southern China, Laos and Vietnam. An expedition was held in 2015 in order to find and investigate this fascinating tree in Vietnam in collaboration with the Vietnam National University of Forestry in Hanoi.

Fossil leaves of Cercidiphyllum japonicum
Conference on relict trees - 27th February 2016

Quand les arbres nous parlent / Wenn die Bäume sprechen könnten: The conference (in French) was held at the Botanic Garden of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) on 27th of February 2016. Main subject: Relict trees of Crete (Greece), Georgia (South Caucasus) and Japan.


Project Zelkova addresses five main objectives

  1. Basic and applied research on relict, rare and/or threatened woody species (biogeography, conservation biology, phylogeny, phylogeography, population genetics, population structure, dendrochronology, etc.).
  2. Conservation actions (in situ and ex situ conservation), action plans and conservation status assessments.
  3. Capacity building (teaching, internships, exchange of students and young scientists, etc.).
  4. Public awareness and outreach (exhibitions, books, workshops, etc.).
  5. Iconographic collections (scientific photography, scientific drawings, etc.)

Zelkova abelicea

Zelkova sicula

Conservation biogeography of Pterocarya & Juglandaceae

Relict and threatened woody species of Azerbaijan

Relict trees of China, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan

Local conservation & research projects, exhibitions, discoveries.